Franz Tost has given details of how Alex Albon is working as a ‘driver coach’ to AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda.
During the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, it was revealed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner that Tsunoda was receiving guidance from someone more experienced as a Formula 1 racer.
Although Horner did not reveal that person’s identity, it later emerged via Sky F1 presenter Ted Kravitz that it was Albon, who has been filling the role of Red Bull’s reserve and sim driver this year.
That is a position the Thai, who was dropped from the race seat alongside Max Verstappen for this season in favour of Sergio Perez, will vacate at the end of 2021 when he moves to Williams to take over from Mercedes-bound George Russell.
Since Albon has been helping Tsunoda, the 21-year-old has collected his first points since the summer break with P9 in the United States and reached Q3 at each of the last three races.
He also produced a stubborn defensive performance against Lewis Hamilton in Istanbul, but Mexico did not go as well – Tsunoda spoiled the final qualifying runs of Perez and Verstappen by running off track and then crashed out of the race on the opening lap.
However, Tost, his AlphaTauri team boss, feels the 21-year-old has benefited from the words of advice Albon has been offering.
“It’s true,” said Tost, quoted by Autosport. “Alex comes to Yuki, talks with him, explains him the track, whatever, and Yuki asks [questions]. It’s a talk between drivers.
“I think that’s quite positive for Yuki because he gets a lot of knowledge from Alex, and therefore it’s been very positive.”
Tost explained how the arrangement had come about.
“Alex is in the Red Bull family and he didn’t have so many free weekends because he was running in the DTM, but we said when he is at the track he should support Yuki,” added the Austrian.
“We told Yuki ‘please ask him questions so he can help you to understand everything better’. It works very good.”
Although he was speaking before the Mexican Grand Prix, Tost said he had been impressed with the way Tsunoda had kept his cool and turned things around after an error-strewn debut campaign.
“Yuki is improving and getting better and better,” said Tost. “He has a better understanding about the engineering side of the car.
“He has a lot of meetings with his engineers in Faenza to get a better picture about everything and to get a better feeling also in the car and what’s going on.”
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